Category Archives: health

How Mickey Battles the Blues

It should be noted that Mickey does not battle the St. Louis Blues.  That is his favorite hockey team.  And while they have never won the Stanley Cup, they do win a lot and are almost always in the playoffs.  So they help fight depression.  Battling them would not only be counter-productive, but might also result in losing all those big square white middle teeth in that goofy smile.

But battling depression is a constant necessity.  Not only am I subject to diabetic depression and Donald Trump overload, but my entire family is prone to deep and deadly bad blue funks.  It helps to be aware that there are a lot of ways to fight that old swamp of sadness. It doesn’t have to keep claiming the Atreyu’s horse of your soul.  (Yes, I know that Neverending Story metaphors seriously date me to the 80’s and signify that I am indeed old… another reason I have to constantly fight depression.)

Blue Dawn

I have some surefire methods for battling depression that apparently the science actually backs up.  It turns out that most of things that Mickey does actually stimulate the brain to produce more dopamine.

“Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers. Dopamine also helps regulate movement and emotional response, and it enables us not only to see rewards, but to take action to move toward them.”  – Psychology Today

So, I guess I am secretly a dopamine addict.  It is a brain chemical you cannot focus or function effectively without.

  1. Being creative in some way fosters the production of dopamine in the old think-organ.  So writing this blog helps.  Doodling excessively helps.  Writing novels, painting pictures, drawing cartoons, and writing really remarkably bad poetry also help, and I do all of those things every week.
  2. Chicken Dancing helps.  Really.  Flapping your arms and wiggling your butt in such a stupidly silly way is aerobic exercise, and the very act of exercising increases not only dopamine but also serotonin and endorphin get a boost.  These are your “natural high” brain drugs.  Have you ever noticed chicken dancers are never really sad while dancing?  The ones crying excessively are either crying from happiness or extremely embarrassed teenagers forced to chicken dance by their goofy old dad.
  3. For more information about chicken dancing and its possible uses for evil, check out this link The Dancing Poultry Conspiracy Theory.  Because laughing about stuff is also a cure for depression.  It tends to even bypass dopamine and take a left turn through serotonin straight into the pleasure centers of the brain.
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  5. Winning streaks also help immensely.  Of course, I can’t always count on the St. Louis Blues to give me winning streaks.  X-Box EA Sports MVP Baseball 2004 set on the rookie difficulty level for the last decade helps with that.  I have won over 300 consecutive games including two World Series sweeps that way.  And Albert Pujols has hit over 1,000 home runs in his Mickian baseball career.
  6. Check lists also help because they are the same thing as winning streaks.  The sense of accomplishment you get from checking off boxes on your To-Do List also boosts dopamine in the same way.  So what if I am listing routine things like walking the dog, picking up socks, and taking out the trash?  A check mark is still a check mark and a check mark by any other name still smells like marker.
  7. And, of course, there is listening to music.  I am seriously addicted to classical music because every emotion from beautiful and awe-inspiring to butt-ugly brutal can be found somewhere in the works of the great composers. And don’t forget, Paul Simon, Don Henly, and Paul McCartney are in that category too.

8. And please, don’t forget food.  Depressed eating can easily make you fat, but there are certain magical chemicals in certain foods that give you certain dopamine-building effects that can turn blue skies to bright sunshine.  The primary chemical is called Tyrosine, and it can be found in a variety of foods like;

– Almonds

– Avocados

– Bananas

– Beef

– Chicken

– Chocolate

– Coffee

– Eggs

– Green Tea

– Milk

– Watermelon

– Yogurt

9.  And finally, thinking skills are critical.  While thinking too much and obsessing can get you into the tiger trap pits of depression, meditation, decompressive mantras and positive thinking can all dig you out and keep you out.

You are probably wondering what kind of nitwit authority I can actually bring to this topic, but I have spent a lot of money on therapy, not all of it for me, and I not only listen to psychiatrists and psychologists, but I remember what they explained to me.  And I have tried enough things to know what works.

So while you are busy chicken dancing to Beethoven while eating a banana, rest assured, Mickey is probably doing something just as embarrassingly ridiculous at the very same time.

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Filed under battling depression, commentary, Depression, family, healing, health, humor, strange and wonderful ideas about life

Doom Looms, Dear Ones

So, now that my imminent demise by lack of affordable health care is guaranteed, I decided to celebrate by Googling the words “Doom Looms”.  The following collage of doom and oddities in image form is the result.

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This is Dr. Doom, not Trump.  Trump would never admit a flaw.

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Stephen Hawking recently declared that we will not survive as a species if we don’t move off the planet Earth within the next 100 years.

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North Korea is at least keeping Trump entertained.

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Filed under angry rant, collage, feeling sorry for myself, health, politics

Disney World Without Me

 

Yes, wife and daughter are re-visiting Walt Disney World in Orlando while I continue to rot in the heat at home in Texas.  But it is a completely okay thing.  As you can see, they are with recently widowed mother-in-law, wife’s sisters, and various nieces.  It is an all-girl trip.  It is all about family and healing.

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You can also probably tell that they buy into the Filipino-American picture-taking thing where you must document your own face and the faces of your family at every stop or pause or line waiting for the Golden Horseshoe Musical Review in Adventureland.  Oh, and we can’t forget the taking pictures of food before you eat it.

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And you can probably also Sherlock Holmes the identity of the niece in charge of photos and posting them on Instagram.  You will not, however, get their proper names from me.  I try to protect identities in all my public posts.  So when I tell you that this last one is a picture of Pompolina Ipsokookie eating a Mickey Mouse pretzel, you can rest assured that only one of the names in that sentence is not made up.  (Oopsie!  I used Mickey’s real name by accident.  Never mind.)

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I do not regret them having worlds of fun without me.  I am not in good enough health to travel.  I also have to stay at home with the son who is learning to drive and has a job to get to.  And I do get to see the incessant pictures and have a bit of second-hand fun.  It also helps that I am not paying for the trip.  I am being sued by Banko Merricka and don’t have any money.  And they might use a Disney Trip in court to say I have plenty of money and I am just being Scroogie with it.  (And I don’t necessarily mean to insult Scrooge McDuck, so, Disney, you do NOT have to sue me too.)

Anyway, Disney World trips by family members give me something to think about and post about to get my mind off my troubles.  Such things help to take away a bit of the pain of this wonderful life.

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Filed under autobiography, Disney, family, feeling sorry for myself, healing, health, humor

Doom Looms, Dear Ones

 

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Wisdom from Pogo by the Great Walt Kelly

I get down and depressed when things continually go down hill and life becomes a depository for piles of disappointments, busted plans, and reversals of fortune.  I recently got rejected again by a publisher.  They told me they didn’t want my work, and subtly hinted that they really didn’t think it would be a good idea for me to submit any more to them.  And this, of course, was not one of the big five.  They don’t even accept submissions from a goof as lowly as me who thinks he can write stories.

I take things like that with a grain of salt anyway.  Twenty years ago I was told by a published writer that my writing was good enough to be published, and that all good writing eventually gets published.  But I chose the coward’s path back then, continuing to invest my time in teaching hormonal and homicidal brats to read and write English in a poverty-pocket of South Texas where they barely pay teachers anything.  I chose that cowardly path because it challenged my abilities and seemed a fulfilling life… and besides, I loved working with kids.  Now, my life is winding down.  I am retired on a full pension which is surprisingly good compared to what most teachers get nowadays, earned at a time before the Grinch became Emperor of Texas and declared the teaching of Science and making students think were acts of pure evil.  My health is failing now, and getting published in the age of the internet is now a much more iffy sort of thing where hacks can make fortunes and good writers are ignored.  Even small publishers aren’t interested in my work.

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Yes, I tend to say “Gork” a lot because it doesn’t matter where I go from here.  I have lived a good life.   Now, as I dissolve in illness and pain and disappointment, I have no regrets.  I fought the good fight and did good work.  If the writing thing doesn’t do anything more for me than let me entertain myself in my last days, then that is good enough.  I have one book published, and I mean to continue banging away at stories that I have always intend to tell, they will continue to exist after me, at least for a while, and will represent me well when I am gone.

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So, I am bound to die, and fairly soon, and we are going to have the racist Orange King as our next President, so the economy will collapse into the pocketbooks of a handful of billionaires.  Doom Looms… a phrase I borrowed from a Walt Kelly strip that cut to the heart of the matter long ago.  While we live, we are all together as passengers on Spaceship Earth, and we are the only enemy available to contend with.  So, instead of being bummed out about bad fortune, I choose to count my blessings and seriously contemplate what I can do to make things better… whether it is in a big way, or just a little bitty one.

Fools

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Filed under autobiography, battling depression, comic strips, education, health, irony, novel plans, Paffooney, publishing

The Survivor

Elf on Patrol

I am trying to bounce back.  Yesterday I survived the possible end of the world.  No heart attack.  No asteroid hitting the Earth.  But also no writing contest win.  A huge delay in the publication of my novel.  My writing world is in danger of expiring because my life is winding down to its finale, and I’m running out of time.  I can still do it, though.  I have come back from down and out before.

In 1983 I had a mole removed from my face.  It wasn’t a vanity-type thing.  Removing it wasn’t going to cure ugliness or anything.  But it had gotten larger and had a strange color change.  So, my ancient and doddering Czechoslovakian  doctor removed it just to be sure.  As with any such removal, the excised tissue was sent to the lab for analysis.  Malignant melanoma in the very first stages.  At the time, the survival rate for such a cancer in Texas was less than fifty per cent.  But most cases were not discovered so early in the crisis.  I went back in for more surgery.  They ended up cutting a hole through my right cheek and stitching it back together again.  The new tissue underwent very close scrutiny and it was determined that all the dangerous cells had been removed during the very first surgery.  No evidence anywhere of creeping metastasizing cancer death.  It was decided that chemo-therapy would only do harm and would not help anything.  So I got to keep my hair.  It did eventually mean the removal of two more moles and three lumps, but they were all benign.  Cancer was fought off and beaten 33 years ago this month.  I am a cancer survivor.

I often marvel at the fact that I am still alive and still able to write.  I have had innumerable near misses.  Car accidents that didn’t happen by a matter of inches.  The skidding truck on the icy street in Iowa City missed the front tire of my bicycle by about three inches.  Facing down irrationally angry youths with weapons intending to strike out in anger, and somehow having the right words to calm them and prevent the tragedy.  One of them told me it was because he looked me in the eye and saw no fear there that he couldn’t do it, couldn’t strike me down.  By rights, I should be dead.  It is a supreme irony of life that an almost-atheist like me believes in guardian angels.

I don’t know what the ultimate goal is.  I don’t expect to be a wealthy published novelist like Stephen King.  I don’t know if it is even important that I break through the bookstore barriers and get my work on the shelves for a few paltry dollars.  It is really only important that I write.  This blog has become important to me because I have developed a small readership that actually reads and provides feedback.  I do occasionally reach the heart of people I don’t actually even know.  And I have made friends and relatives a little bit misty.  I have written 849 posts, posting every single day of 2015, and every single day of fifteen months in a row.  I have written six complete novels and gotten two actually into print with an ISBN number and everything.  My writing, like me myself, exists, and it will survive.  I am a survivor.

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Filed under autobiography, healing, health, humor, novel plans, writing

A Simple Matter of Recovery

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Ah, my poor little Ford Fiesta has been declared dead by the insurance company.  Soon I will have to give up the chibi clown car I have been driving and buy something new.  Can I get a used car for the money they will give me for the accident?  I was counting on not having a car payment every month after June of this year.  Ah, but it means a new member of the family to replace the loved one I have lost.

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The ghost dog continues to haunt me in the night.  Last night, outside my bedroom door, I heard a whining and whimpering again.  I checked (had to make a nocturnal potty-stop anyway) and it was not our family dog.  The downstairs family room door was closed to her and she sleeps in the other end of the house in my son’s room.  So, either it was the ghost dog whom I totally don’t believe in, or I was dreaming that part (do I really have dreams as weird as that?), or maybe I am going insane… the most probable explanation.

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I am still working in dedicated fashion on my hometown novels.  I have added to the rewrite of When the Captain Came Calling and I have started a new novel project I am calling Recipes for Gingerbread Children.  It is a novel about the old German lady who inhabited our little town in the 1960’s and 70’s.  She was a Holocaust survivor with a tattoo on her forearm.  Mother still can’t talk about her without mentioning what a terrible life she must’ve had, yet she was one of the most sunshiny people I have ever known.  It is a new idea that excites me, like the one that became Magical Miss Morgan.

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I am also still desperately trying to overcome illness without doctor’s visits or medication.  A lot can be done with careful monitoring of diet and blood-sugar levels.  I owe my life to over-the-counter Mucinex and Vicks Vaporub.  My son is also suffering at present, and I have to talk to professionals about it today, because I will not risk his health to protect my empty pocketbook.

So challenges remain challenging and I keep moving forward and upward.  What more can be done?  I have in the past couple of months not only faced several different difficulties, but I have reached new levels of success with this blog, much of it by writing a lot in ways that are full of self-medicating thoughts with healing words and ideas.  People seem to like that.  My average daily views is up above thirty.  I am nearing 800 followers.  I may not have writing income, but I do seem to have a personal brand that others respond to.  So, if you have read all the way through this recycled oatmeal post with nothing but old pictures in it, please be reassured… oatmeal is good for you… and for me.

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Filed under healing, health, humor, illness, Paffooney, photo paffoonies

Down and Blue

Life for me has always been a struggle with poor health and depression, ill fortune and difficult circumstances.  I have always been a “make lemonade” sort of life-gives-you-lemons problem-solver, but the more I make lemonade, the more my sorry old puss gets puckered.  I am having chest pains and breathing problems again.  I don’t have money for doctor’s visit co-pays and medication.  My car is in the shop with more than $6,000 dollars worth of damages, hit by a passing motorist going too fast while it was parked outside my house.  Insurance is probably not going to pay that much to fix a five-year-old car.  My family in Iowa have recently been buried under huge snowdrifts.  And the grim reaper has been knocking on my bedroom door asking if I want to play a game of chess.

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But I will tag this post as humor.  Because, ironically, humor is not always funny.  Sometimes it has the sour puckering effect of lemonade with too little sugar in the mix.  When you have worked hard all your life for very little reward, it’s hard to appreciate the tiny amounts of sugar you have been allotted.  I see myself ending much the way Mother Mendocino ended, except the community will not even hear about my passing.

My Jester

The more I sing songs, and rattle the boards, and try to make my puppets dance, the more arthritis crabs up my fingers and makes me ache.  Sometimes happy simply comes hard.  But self-pity is easy.  And I am a pratfall clown most of the time.  I use my injuries to make others laugh.  And there is still magic to be found here and there in my art.  Today’s paffoonies were all culled from my Postable Paffooney file.  They are all old artworks of which I am pathetically proud.

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Pathos is a part of humor too, you know.  You tell a story about someone whose been on a lonely journey, and he finally gets to come home to the ones he loves, and you smile at the end of that.  If you laughed at the clown for falling down, you smiled too when he got up again.  After all, he wasn’t hurt.  In many ways we are all made of spoof and rubber, and while the bullets don’t bounce off, we are more like Superman than we think.  There is definitely wisdom buried somewhere in this pile of old quilts I am calling an essay today.  I just wish I had the words to make it clearer than I do in this poor excuse for a paragraph.

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My sister reads posts like this and tells me they are too depressing, that I need to write happier stuff.  But don’t worry the way she does.  I do spend a lot of time writing about the low spots.  But I would like to point out that most of the time I am climbing out of holes.  So I may start the essay in a very low place, but the direction I am going is always up.

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Now I have said my 500 words for today, and while I still need bed-rest… there is no doubt the sun will come up again.

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Filed under Depression, healing, health, humor, Paffooney, philosophy, Uncategorized